J. Med. Internet Res. - Are public health organizations tweeting to the choir? Understanding local health department Twitter followership.

Tópicos

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Resumo

CKGROUND: One of the essential services provided by the US local health departments is informing and educating constituents about health. Communication with constituents about public health issues and health risks is among the standards required of local health departments for accreditation. Past research found that only 61% of local health departments met standards for informing and educating constituents, suggesting a considerable gap between current practices and best practice.OBJECTIVE: Social media platforms, such as Twitter, may aid local health departments in informing and educating their constituents by reaching large numbers of people with real-time messages at relatively low cost. Little is known about the followers of local health departments on Twitter. The aim of this study was to examine characteristics of local health department Twitter followers and the relationship between local health department characteristics and follower characteristics.METHODS: In 2013, we collected (using NodeXL) and analyzed a sample of 4779 Twitter followers from 59 randomly selected local health departments in the United States with Twitter accounts. We coded each Twitter follower for type (individual, organization), location, health focus, and industry (eg, media, government). Local health department characteristics were adopted from the 2010 National Association of City and County Health Officials Profile Study data.RESULTS: Local health department Twitter accounts were followed by more organizations than individual users. Organizations tended to be health-focused, located outside the state from the local health department being followed, and from the education, government, and non-profit sectors. Individuals were likely to be local and not health-focused. Having a public information officer on staff, serving a larger population, and "tweeting" more frequently were associated with having a higher percentage of local followers.CONCLUSIONS: Social media has the potential to reach a wide and diverse audience. Understanding audience characteristics can help public health organizations use this new tool more effectively by tailoring tweet content and dissemination strategies for their audience.

Resumo Limpo

ckground one essenti servic provid us local health depart inform educ constitu health communic constitu public health issu health risk among standard requir local health depart accredit past research found local health depart met standard inform educ constitu suggest consider gap current practic best practiceobject social media platform twitter may aid local health depart inform educ constitu reach larg number peopl realtim messag relat low cost littl known follow local health depart twitter aim studi examin characterist local health depart twitter follow relationship local health depart characterist follow characteristicsmethod collect use nodexl analyz sampl twitter follow random select local health depart unit state twitter account code twitter follow type individu organ locat health focus industri eg media govern local health depart characterist adopt nation associ citi counti health offici profil studi dataresult local health depart twitter account follow organ individu user organ tend healthfocus locat outsid state local health depart follow educ govern nonprofit sector individu like local healthfocus public inform offic staff serv larger popul tweet frequent associ higher percentag local followersconclus social media potenti reach wide divers audienc understand audienc characterist can help public health organ use new tool effect tailor tweet content dissemin strategi audienc

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